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US says no to civil nuclear deal with Pakistan

Source: PTI
April 08, 2010 01:50 IST
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Hours after Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said that his country "qualifies" for a civilian nuclear deal with the US, like that of India, the Obama Administration in a blunt message told it that such a deal is not on platter of its talks with Islamabad.

"We are focused on Pakistan's energy needs, but, as we said last week, right now that does not include civilian nuclear energy," Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs P J Crowley told the media.

A high-level Pakistani delegation led by the country's Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi was in Washington last month to launch the US-Pak strategic dialogue.

The Pakistani delegation sought a civil nuclear deal with the US on the lines of that of India.

The Obama Administration did not give any concrete assurance to Qureshi, neither did it totally reject the request.

Meanwhile, chairing a special meeting of Parliamentary Committee on National Security in Islamabad, Gilani said Pakistan "fully qualifies" for it as it has put in place effective security and non-proliferation measures.

A "well established, foolproof safety and security culture fully qualifies Pakistan for equal participation in civil nuclear cooperation at the international level, which would help us in addressing our immediate energy problems and would bring greater stability as well", Gilani had said.

Crowley reiterated that US has full confidence in the safety and security of nuclear weapons in Pakistan.

"I think various US leaders have expressed confidence in the security of the Pakistani weapons. I'm not going to go any further than that," he said.

Earlier in the day, another Obama Administration official said it favors a new global civil-nuclear architecture allowing countries to meet their energy needs without posing proliferation risk.

"The Obama administration has favored new international civil nuclear-energy architecture, an architecture that allows countries around the world to benefit from the peaceful uses of nuclear energy without increasing proliferation risks," Robert J Einhorn, Special US Advisor for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Arms Control, said.

"Ideas have been put forward, like fuel-supply assurances, international fuel banks. These are designed to give countries more options, to give them more access to the nuclear fuels they need to run a nuclear-energy program, a nuclear-power program. We have supported these international fuel banks to do that," Einhorn told foreign journalists at a news conference.
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